In Week 17, there is a scenario in which the Colts can secure a playoff spot and rest a bit easier during the final week of the NFL campaign.
The Colts need to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders to secure a playoff berth
There are a few different scenarios for the Colts to snag a playoff spot in Week 17. However, let’s start with the first — and most straightforward.
The Colts need to defeat the Las Vegas Raiders to clinch a spot in the AFC Playoffs. Indianapolis will host the Raiders on Sunday and look to continue their hot streak as of late.
On the other hand, the Raiders have won two straight games against the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos. That Browns game was against a heavily-depleted Cleveland team due to COVID-19 issues, and the Broncos game was a 17-13 final in which the Raiders still didn’t look very good.
That certainly makes the Colts feel better going into Sunday’s game, especially with the status of Carson Wentz up in the air after he landed on the COVID-19 list.
The Colts can also get in with a tie and some help from other teams
The Colts should beat the Raiders, even if Wentz doesn’t suit up. Taylor has been an unstoppable force all season, especially as of late.
He has rushed for 100 or more yards in each of the past three games, including 170 yards against the New England Patriots.
The other scenario for the Colts to get in would be a tie with the Raiders, and then a Baltimore Ravens loss and Patriots loss or Ravens loss and Miami Dolphins loss (or tie).
However, beating the Raiders on Sunday would be the easiest and give Frank Reich and company some breathing room going into the final week of the NFL season.
The status of Carson Wentz will be worth monitoring ahead of the game
Wentz is eligible to come off the COVID-19 list on Sunday morning if everything goes as planned. After the NFL instituted new rules earlier in the week, it allows players to come off quicker if asymptomatic.
So, there is hope that Wentz is ready. If not, Sam Ehlinger will get the start under center.
Either way, it figures to be another massive game for Taylor, especially with the Raiders’ questionable defense.
In Week 15, Nick Chubb rushed for 91 yards and a score. The week before, Derrick Gore and Clyde Edwards-Helaire combined for three scores and more than 100 yards in the Kansas City Chiefs’ 48-9 demolition of Las Vegas.
Simply put, the Colts should have no issues clinching a playoff spot with or without Wentz against the Raiders, and Taylor has a beautiful opportunity to make an even stronger case for the NFL MVP award.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference